Forget glory days as Villa transition means cuts, says McLeish


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The Independent Football

The Aston Villa manager Alex McLeish claims his team are in a period of transition and has called for patience ahead of Sunday's Premier League match at QPR.

The Scot made it clear after his appointment in June that he was under instructions from Villa owner Randy Lerner to reduce the wage bill, and the likes of Ashley Young, Stewart Downing, Nigel Reo-Coker, John Carew, Brad Friedel and Luke Young have all left the club over the summer.

McLeish is not complaining and knew the parameters he would have to work within, but needs time to make his mark after an unbeaten start to the campaign was ended by Bolton in the Carling Cup.

He said: "Is the club in transition? I don't think there is any doubt about that when you see the players that have left. Randy Lerner is definitely trying to reduce the wages. We've been open about that, just like other clubs have. We want to live according to our means so of course there is going to be a transitional period.

"It's not going to be the Aston Villa of 1982 [when they won the European Cup] or the giddy heights of a couple of years ago [under Martin O'Neill]. We've got to be patient. There has got to be patience."

McLeish added: "It is tough for fans because they want to see their team being the best and winning games easily every week. But we know how competitive this league is and you see topsy-turvy results you wouldn't expect."

Putting Villa's start to the campaign – seven points from five games – in perspective, McLeish said: "It's not been the worst start. We could have done with another couple of three-pointers in games but we've got to keep believing in ourselves.

"It would be doubtful if we win the league this season but you can look at the league in different phases. If you play really well the first six games, does that mean you are going to have a bad spell? Who knows what the season is going to bring?"

McLeish has recalled rookie striker Andreas Weimann from a loan spell at Watford because Darren Bent (groin) and Emile Heskey (hamstring) are ruled out of the trip to Loftus Road. He said: "I'm short of players and it only takes an injury or two to a couple of your forwards and, all of a sudden, you've only got one or two left."

On-loan Spurs midfielder Jermaine Jenas is rated 50-50 to recover in time from a thigh injury.